Brooke Falls Short

ST. ALBANS — This wasn’t the way Brooke running back Scott Victorio or his coach, Dave Reitter, thought the season would end.

An 11-game season of ups and downs faded away in a blur of missed tackles and a burly St. Albans offensive line Friday night at Crawford Field.

The No. 5 Red Dragons (10-1) ran for 238 yards and received a timely kickoff return for a score from Zach Hodges to earn a 37-20 victory against the Bruins (7- 4).

Victorio, Brooke’s do-it-all star, didn’t get untracked until the second half and by then it was too late, thanks to a 17-0 St. Albans halftime lead and a 16-play scoring drive that kept the ball out of his hands.

”Our kids did a great job of coming back after being down and I’m very proud of them,” Reitter said.

St. Albans, which was led in rushing by tailback Markus Guy (24 carries, 110 yards), had two first-half scoring drives that took a total of 27 plays and covered 80 yards each.

The ground-oriented Bruins had only nine carries in the first half. Brooke got back in the game, taking the second-half kickoff at its own 45 and using eight plays — all on runs — but its kicking woes resurfaced and the score was 17-6.

In the first half, Brooke missed two field goals.

”Our kid (kicker Jonathan Hood) has done a good job all year for us and (Friday) just wasn’t his day,” Reitter said. ”I won’t know what the problem was until I look at the video.”

Brooke changed kickers following a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Victorio, but senior Tony Pelligrino’s PAT try hit the crossbar.

Still, that touchdown cut the St. Albans lead to 24-20 with 11:54 left in the game.

That’s when the methodical St. Albans offense went back to work, piecing together a 12-play, 75-yard drive to go comfortably ahead with 5:53 left. The drive lasted 6:01.

”We didn’t quit, although we struggled a little bit with penalties,” said St. Albans coach Derek Christian, whose team was penalized 15 times for 88 yards. ”We came through when we had to.”

The Bruins scored with 3:27 left in the third period on a Josh Frankos 1-yard run and Victorio conversion.

That’s when disaster struck Brooke, as Hodges took the kickoff at his own 15-yard line and broke tackles on his way to an 85-yard score.

Victorio managed 93 yards rushing on 18 carries, most of which came on a cutback 43-yard gain in the third period.

The 5-foot-7, 187-pounder didn’t get an opportunity to return kicks until late in the game, as the Red Dragons chose to kick away from the senior.